Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Helicopter Downed (Brazil)

Firefighters in Rio de Janeiro are shown battling to put out the flames of a police helicopter shot down during a gun battle between two rival drug gangs in this photograph taken by Alexandre Brum.

Drug traffickers shot down the police helicopter during a gun battle between two rival gangs on 17 October 2009, killing two officers. Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro was engulfed in a renewed outburst of violence a mere two weeks after winning its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Bullets ripped into the helicopter as it hovered over a shoot-out between the police and drug traffickers in the Morro dos Macacos slum in northern Rio de Janeiro. The pilot was hit in the leg, causing him to lose control and crash.

Two officers died, while the pilot and three other policemen escaped after the aircraft hit the ground on a football field and burst into flames.

Despite the mayhem, officials defended Rio’s ability to control violence ahead of the Olympics, as well as before 2014, when Brazil will host the World Cup, with key games in Rio.

The downing of the helicopter happened amid intense firefights involving rival gangs in the slum as one tried to seize a rival’s territory, authorities said.

The city has previously hosted the 2007 Pan American Games without incident.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin